Thursday, 23 February 2012

Les Enfants qui a perdu son politesse

Quite apart from how difficult it can be to secure a table reservation for five people on a Saturday in Paris when you’ve restricted yourself to choosing places where the wine list focus is what one would call natural. There are other issues involved with trying to have a celebratory evening out in France’s capital city.

T&C had hopped on the Eurostar, somewhat on a whim and we were planning a good solid evening of wine consumption, accessorized with a few plates of decent food and lots of catching up.

Meeting them off the Eurostar we ducked into a nearby bar to sort out plans for the evening. Of course this necessitated the usual rigmarole of catching the proprietors eye, taking a table, then waiting for him to see fit to come over and take an order, nothing out of the ordinary there.

We hopped in a taxi to the hotel, which was a neat 9.5 euros. T&C nipped up to their room to drop bags, then we asked the hotel to order us a taxi to the restaurant, essentially back where we’d come from.

It was here that I started to get a trifle annoyed, after repeating the name of the restaurant, the road name and the quarter 1eme a couple of times, while the driver queried the 10eme (all in French). He finally shook his head, asked again, I offered to show him the address as written, he then repeated it word for word as I had told him, before shrugging and driving us there. For 19.50 euros. Cunt. Now my French accent is pretty good, and I was being very clear, I can only assume that his view was as English folk we wouldn’t really know what we were doing.

Les Enfants Perdus, on arrival to an empty restaurant. (In French)

Me – Hi, we’ve got a reservation for 5 in the name Edwards.

Waiter – OK, where are the rest of your party?

Me – Oh, they might already be here, they left before us from the 18th.
(bear in mind the restaurant is empty, it’s 7.30pm before most people eat in France)

Waiter – Nope, please can you wait at the bar.

Me – Sorry, is it ok to go to the table.

Waiter – Well, sometimes the rest of a party can take some time to arrive, so it’s better at the bar.

What the fuck, it’s a tiny little restaurant bar, there are three stalls, the table is empty and we’re on time. What did they think they were going to squeeze another sitting into the time we were waiting for the rest of the party. Did they hope that making us feel like three out of place cunts was going to make us order more? No fucking clue.

(a couple of minutes later)

Waiter – You can go to your table now.

Ahh we’d served our penance for arriving at different times and now we were being given the privilege of our table. E&E, the rest of the party arrived moments later.

I’d considered posting about what we ate, it was all pretty good, the wine list was about 6.5/10. A nice Alex Bain Pouilly Fume 010 (though I was a bit uncertain of the storage as it wasn’t as fresh as the last couple of bottles I’ve had), a non-descript Savennieres and Ermitage Pic St Loup, were our choices.
The service carried on its theme of incompetence and misplaced hauteur, so we left after mains.

Les Enfants Perdus, 9 rue des récollets 75010 Paris

I understand that this reeks of first world issues, but I've spent a large part of my life working in hospitality, and there is no need for this odd need that a lot of French waiting staff seem to have to ensure the guest knows his place.


Madeline Puckette said...

It's bad when your experience is tarnished right when you arrive. Or in your situation, even before you even arrive! sucks. I have to remember when I look at someone who's walked in to really understand where they're coming from

Donald Edwards said...

Silly thing was both myself and my friend Charlotte have and still do work in restaurants and it was all such an avoidable bit of bad service...